20 Beautiful and Aesthetic Japanese Words and Their Meaning

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As someone who has studied the Japanese language and culture for 4 years, and preparing for a trip to Japan soon, I put together this fun list of aesthetic Japanese words to get you inspired!


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These beautiful aesthetic Japanese words convey a feeling or a sentiment so perfectly. One aspect of Japanese that I find particularly fascinating is the way in which words can convey both a deep meaning and an aesthetic quality.

and In this article, I would like to share with you 20 amazing Japanese words. These are the most beautiful Japanese words and meaningful Japanese words that have stayed with me since I learned them.

From describing the beauty of nature to capturing the essence of human emotion, these words offer a glimpse into the depth and richness of Japanese culture. I hope this gives you some inspiration before your trip to Japan (like it is for me!).

1. 空 (Sora)

sky

“Sora” is a word that refers to the vast expanse of the sky. It represents the boundless possibilities and limitless potential of the universe and is often associated with feelings of freedom and openness. When I hear this word, I am reminded of the importance of dreaming big and aiming high, and of the infinite possibilities.

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2. 渋い (Shibui)

Subtle and Refined

“Shibui” is a beautiful Japanese word that is used to describe something that is understated and refined. It is often used to describe traditional Japanese art and design, which emphasizes simplicity and elegance over flamboyance and excess. This aesthetic Japanese word reminds me of the phrase “less is more” which I wholeheartedly believe and practice.

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3. 幽玄 (Yugen)

Profound Mystery

“Yugen” is a Japanese word that is difficult to translate into English. It refers to a profound sense of mystery and depth that is often associated with the beauty of nature. When I think of “Yugen”, I am reminded of the feeling I get when I gaze up at the stars on a clear night.

4. 美しい (utsukushii) 

Beautiful

“utsukushii” is how you say profoundly beautiful in Japanese. This word sounds so aesthetic and beautiful. The meaning behind it should be reserved for when you feel something is truly breathtaking.

aesthetic japanese words

5. 風流 (Furyuu)

Grace and Elegance

“Furyuu” is a word that is used to describe a sense of grace and elegance. It is often used to describe the way that people carry themselves or the way that things are presented. When I think of “Furyuu”, I am reminded of how a modern women carries herself with effortless grace and timeless style. Hit’s the nail on the head with this word!

6. 素朴 (Sopoku)

Simplicity and Naturalness

“Sopoku” is another beautiful Japanese word that is used to describe a sense of simplicity and naturalness. It is often used to describe things that are unadorned and free from excess. When I think of “Sopoku”, I am reminded of the beauty of a simple, unspoiled landscape.

7. 和敬清寂 (Wakei Seijaku)

Harmony, Respect, Purity, and Tranquility

“Wakei Seijaku” is a pretty Japanese phrase that embodies the core values of traditional Japanese culture. It refers to a sense of harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility that is essential to the Japanese way of life. When I think of this phrase, I am reminded of the peaceful and serene atmosphere of a traditional Japanese garden. Which I tried to reflect in our own yard rennovation. The balance and tranquility of an ourdoor space resonates with me and so does this word.

aesthetic japanese words

8. 木漏れ日 (Komorebi)

Sunlight Filtering Through Trees

“Komorebi” is another beautiful Japanese word with such aesthetic meaning, it’s used to describe the dappled sunlight that filters through trees and creates a beautiful pattern of light and shadow on the ground. This word beautifully captures the beauty of nature and the interplay between light and shadow. When I hear this word, I am reminded of an early peaceful morning sitting outside in my garden on a sunny day, where the gentle rustling of leaves of the Japanese maples and the warm glow of sunlight create a serene and tranquil atmosphere. So zen!

9. 空気 (Kuuki)

Atmosphere and Feeling

“Kuuki” is a aesthetic Japanese word that is used to describe the atmosphere or feeling of a place or situation. It can refer to the mood of a room, the ambiance of a city, or the vibe of a social gathering. When I think of “Kuuki”, I am reminded of the peaceful and calming atmosphere of a Japanese tea ceremony. Or the blissfull feeling of traveling somewhere new and closing my eyes and inhaling in the fresh air! Sounds cheezy but it’s what this butterfly like feeling means to me.

10. 落ち着く (Ochitsuku)

Calm and Soothe

“Ochitsuku” is a beautiful word in Japanese that is used to describe a sense of calm and tranquility. It can refer to the feeling of being soothed and comforted by a peaceful environment or a kind word. When I hear this word, I am reminded of the peaceful stillness of a Japanese Zen garden.

11. 温かみ (Atatakami)

Warmth and Kindness

“Atatakami” is a word that is used to describe a sense of warmth and kindness. It can refer to the feeling of being welcomed and accepted by others, or the sense of comfort that comes from being surrounded by loved ones. When I think of “Atatakami”, I am reminded of the warm and welcoming spirit of the Japanese people.

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12. 風情 (Fuzei)

Charm and Atmosphere

“Fuzei” is a word that is used to describe the charm and atmosphere of a place or thing. It can refer to the unique qualities that make something special, or the ambiance that surrounds a particular situation. When I hear this word, I am reminded of the charming and quaint streets of a traditional Japanese village.

13. 物の哀れ (Mono no aware)

Transience of Things

This is one of my favorite Japanese words, It encapsulates my state of mind when I think of life. “Mono no aware” is a phrase that describes the transience and impermanence of all things. It is a reminder that everything in life is temporary, and that we should appreciate the beauty and meaning of each moment. When I think of this phrase, I am reminded of the fleeting beauty of cherry blossom season in Japan.

14. 侘び寂び (Wabi-sabi)

Imperfect Beauty

“Wabi-sabi” is a word that is used to describe the beauty of imperfection. It is a reminder that flaws and irregularities can add to the charm and uniqueness of an object or situation. When I hear this word, I am reminded of the beauty of a weathered and worn piece of pottery and the many conversations about the beauty in impercetion with my cousin Toan who embodies this word so perfectly.

aesthetic japanese words

15. 心地よい (Kokochiyoi)

Comfortable and Pleasant

“Kokochiyoi” is a word that is used to describe a sense of comfort and pleasantness. It can refer to the feeling of being at ease in a particular environment, or the sense of relaxation that comes from doing something enjoyable. When I think of “Kokochiyoi”, I am reminded of the cozy comfort of a Japanese hot spring.

16. 森林浴 (Shinrinyoku)

Forest Bathing

“Shinrinyoku” is a phrase that refers to the practice of immersing oneself in the natural environment of a forest. It is a way of reconnecting with nature and finding a sense of calm and tranquility. When I hear this phrase, I am reminded of the peacefulness of a Japanese forest in autumn.

17. 縁 (En)

Fate and Connection

“En” is a word that refers to the idea of fate or connection between people and events. It is often used to describe the idea that our lives are interconnected and that we are brought together with certain people and experiences for a reason. This word reminds me of the importance of cherishing our relationships and the small moments that bring us together. It also highlights the idea that there is often a greater purpose or meaning to the connections we make in life and we encounter on our travels.

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17. 縁 (En)

Fate and Connection

“En” is a word that refers to the idea of fate or connection between people and events. It is often used to describe the idea that our lives are interconnected and that we are brought together with certain people and experiences for a reason. This word reminds me of the importance of cherishing our relationships and the small moments that bring us together. It also highlights the idea that there is often a greater purpose or meaning to the connections we make in life and we encounter on our travels.

18. こうふく(Kōfuku)

Happiness, Joy

The Japanese word 幸福 (Kōfuku) describes a sense of happiness or joy. It is often used to describe the feeling of contentment and satisfaction in one’s life. This word resonates with me because I think happiness does come from being happy with what we have and only we can create our own happiness.

19. 旅立ち (Tabidachi)

Departure and New Beginnings

“Tabidachi” is a word that is used to describe the departure or beginning of a new journey or adventure. It can refer to the excitement and anticipation of setting out on a new path, or the sadness and nostalgia of leaving behind old friends and memories. When I hear this word, I am reminded of the bittersweet feeling of saying goodbye to my dad at the end of 2019 when I had a chance to see him in Czechia after 20 years, and returning home after that trip.

20. 空海 (Kuukai)

Open Sea

“Kuukai” is a word that refers to the vast, open sea. It is associated with the feelings of freedom, expansiveness, and possibility. When I hear this word, I am reminded of the endless potential and boundless energy of the natural world, and the importance of exploring and embracing new experiences and opportunities.

aesthetic japanese words

In conclusion

the Japanese language is full of beautiful and meaningful words that reflect the country’s rich cultural heritage and unique worldview that resonates with me. From the elegant simplicity of “Iki” to the imperfection beauty of “Wabi-sabi” to the intense passion of “Koi”, these aesthetic Japanese words remind us of the importance of finding beauty and meaning in the world around us. Whether we are traveling in Japan, or simply looking for new ways to appreciate the world, these beautiful Japanese words are sure to inspire and uplift us.

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FAQ


Japanese aesthetic words often capture a deep sense of emotion or experience, and are rooted in the country’s rich cultural and spiritual traditions. They can be seen as a reflection of the Japanese people’s appreciation for nature, simplicity, and harmony. The language itself is also very melodic and expressive, which can make even the simplest of words sound beautiful.

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